Is Gilsonite Flammable? 

This article will answer the question, “is Gilsonite flammable?” It also covers several topics about Gilsonite, its characteristics and applications, the first aid treatment of Gilsonite exposure, the fire handling method, and the storage management of Gilsonite to prevent flame.

Is Gilsonite Flammable?

Carbon and hydrogen predominate in Gilsonite, an easily flammable natural substance. Bituminous material subgroups are commonly used to categorize Gilsonite. Each Gilsonite sample has unique physical, chemical, and other characteristics that might vary considerably.

What is Gilsonite?

Gilsonite is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon mineral with a brownish color and is exceptionally brittle. It is possible to obtain it in a highly pure form, which has a purity level of more than 99 % and contains only a minimal amount of ash (between 0.65-1 %).

According to its chemical makeup, Gilsonite has an asphaltene content of 70.9 %, methane content of 27 %, and oil content of 2 %. 

Gilsonite can be mined from the ground in two basic ways: sub-surface mining or surface mining (also known as strip mining).  Gilsonite is broken down into many categories based on its degree of purity and melting point. Anthracite, for instance, has the highest heat value (13,500 to 15,600 Btu/lb; British thermal units per pound) of all the different types of coal. 

Although it has lower heat values (8,300 to 15,600 Btu/lb) and lower concentrations of pure carbon (from 46 to 86 percent), bituminous coal combines hydrocarbon and high nitrogen. Its concentrations of pure carbon range from 46 to 86 percent. 

The heat value of bituminous rock asphalt is frequently used as a criterion for subdividing it. According to this criterion, bituminous rock asphalt can be split into four categories: low, medium, high, and sub-bituminous. 

In general, lignite has between 46 and 60 percent pure carbon and has the lowest heat value of all the natural coals (5,500 to 8,300 Btu/lb). Lignite is also the least abundant of the actual coals.

What are the Properties of Gilsonite?

There is a significant range in the melting point of Gilsonite, from roughly 230°F to 500°F, depending on where the sample was collected. 

More than one form of Gilsonite can be found in some of the more prominent veins in the area. It demonstrates the changes that have occurred to the material due to the vein filling process. 

Gilsonite melts like tar when fused, keeping out any combustible gasses that could otherwise enter the mixture during burning. 

The softening point and solubility of Gilsonite are, by a significant margin, the essential properties of this mineral. 

Ash and smoke are the only byproducts produced when the hydrocarbons in natural asphalt are heated to their decomposition temperatures. 

During this chemical reaction, a sizeable quantity of natural gas and carbon dioxide is expelled into the atmosphere. 

Gilsonite has been put to use by humans for a very long time as a source of energy for a variety of purposes, including the heating of homes and other buildings, the propulsion of ships and trains, and the operation of numerous industrial processes.

Ordinary solvents like gasoline or benzol don’t dissolve Gilsonite entirely until they’re heated to a high temperature during refluxing. This is most likely owing to Gilsonite’s high colloidal content, making it more difficult to dissolve entirely in water.

There are many different components of Gilsonite, which is made up of hydrocarbons and heteroatoms. Saturates, aromatics, resins, and asphaltenes are the four primary chemical families produced after Gilsonite fractionation by certain solvents. 

The more detailed characteristics of Gilsonite are as follows:

  • Color in Mass: Black
  • Color in Streak: Brown – Dark Brown
  • Moisture Content: 0.5 – 3.5%
  • Hardness (Moh’s Scale): 2
  • Penetration: 0 – 2
  • Ash Content: 0.5 % – 12%
  • Specific Gravity at  77°F: 1.04-1.06
  • Softening Point: 265-600 °F

What are the Applications of Gilsonite?

Here are a few examples of Gilsonite applications in various industries:

  • Additives in drilling fluids
  • Principal wetting agent for carbon black
  • A substance that improves the performance of asphalt mixes
  • Gilsonite is utilized for the treatment of disease, as well as their control, prevention, and recovery.

What is the First Aid Treatment When Exposed to Gilsonite?

  • If it comes into contact with your eye, immediately and thoroughly rinse it with water for at least a quarter of an hour. Remove your contact lenses if at all possible. Attempt to get medical attention as soon as possible.
  • After taking a breath of it, you need to walk outside. Treating the symptoms is the most straightforward strategy to take in this circumstance. If your symptoms do not start to improve, you should see a qualified medical practitioner.
  • If it makes contact with your skin, you should thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water. If the itching does not go away after you wash your skin, you should make an appointment with a medical professional.
  • If you manage to ingest it, you need to get medical help as quickly as possible. If you are not explicitly told to do so by a skilled medical practitioner, you should not attempt to cause vomiting.
  • Under no circumstances should you give somebody anything to drink who appears to be unconscious. If you start to feel sick, crouch down and vomit into your hands so that you don’t aspirate stomach contents into your lungs.

What is the Fire Handling Method?

Because Gilsonite is an element that can explode, it has the potential to start fires. The following are some actions that need to be taken if there is a fire:

  • To prevent the containers from catching fire, a little water mist should be sprayed on them. It is recommended that water be used to extinguish fires in containers that flame have heated. This process should be repeated until the fire has been destroyed.
  • Protective gear such as a flame-resistant coat, gloves, a helmet with a face shield, and boots made of rubber is required for firefighters to wear at all times.
  • You should not breathe in the gas if there is a fire or an explosion.
  • Take the necessary precautions before proceeding, but if it is safe to remove any containers that may be in the area where the fire is.
  • The situation will only become more dangerous if water is put straight onto the flames. The fire has the potential to generate sulfuric vapors, have an offensive odor, and provide a potential health risk.

You can learn more here

How is the Storage Management of Gilsonite to Prevent Flame?

  • Keep in a place that is both cool and dry.
  • Keep in a well-ventilated environment.
  • Transfer it to an area separate and distant from any potent oxidizing agents, acids, or halogens.
  • Make sure the lid is on the container securely. Keep in a safe place to which only authorized personnel have access.
  • Keep a safe distance from any heat, sparks, or flames that may be present.


Gilsonite is highly flammable. As a result, it must be handled with caution and under all applicable health and safety standards.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs): Is Gilsonite Flammable?

Is it dangerous to use Gilsonite?

Gilsonite possesses outstandingly high levels of both health and safety. It has been determined that there are no detectable quantities of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or polynuclear aromatics (PNAs). 

Products made from Gilsonite do not cause cancer, do not cause mutations, and do not cause toxicity. Gilsonite products each have their own OSHA Material Safety Data Sheet, which contains further information.

Is Gilsonite the same as coal?

In most cases, Gilsonite is included under subgroups of materials referred to as bituminous coal. There is a significant amount of variation between samples of Gilsonite regarding its physicochemical and other properties.


Leave a Comment